It doesn’t come up in the promotional materials for The Clearwater School, but Clearwater is a good place for boys who cry.

Not everyone can fit their life philosophy onto a cake, but my boy can.

Not everyone can fit their life philosophy onto a cake, but my boy can.

At other schools, certainly the progressive, public alternative schools I attended, boys who cried were punished for being wimps.

Yesterday, at the diploma presentations of two seniors, I saw tears in buckets, not just from audience members but from one of the presenters. I was not surprised, having seen him cry openly when his brother made his diploma presentation a couple years back.

My own nephew always cries at these things, as does my daughter. Usually, I cry too, since, as I heard someone say this week, “Nobody cries alone if I’m in the room (and nobody barfs alone either).”

Mostly, I tried not to look at my family members, though my daughter quaking next to me leaned on me and held my hand as I held myself together. For some reason, none of us were carrying tissues, though we’d even discussed potential weeping in advance.

I wouldn’t say that my eyes stayed dry, but when my son was speaking, he was dry-eyed, and that helped. Had he been crying, something I haven’t seen him do for years, I would not have been able to keep it together.

This morning, though, getting out of bed, it finally hit me. I suddenly heard things people said about L and his place in the community and his relationships, especially with the cousin he’s known all his life and rarely goes through a weekday without seeing.

The thing about the tears is that they are awareness of the transitions and fragility and endurance of relationships. My son will always be my son, I will always love him, he’s not going anywhere for at least a month and I have no idea where and when he will go. Or what that will feel like.

In the meantime, I’m glad of so much he has learned, especially about how to be around boys who cry.